Ruthless Napoli continue title march, Lazio second after derby triumph

Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia were again the heroes for Napoli on Sunday as Italy’s champions-elect thumped Torino 4-0, to take their lead at the Serie A summit  to 19 points after Lazio moved second with a 1-0 Rome derby win.

Nigeria striker Osimhen took his league-leading goal tally to 21 with two towering headers, one in each half, with Kvaratskhelia’s 35th-minute penalty sandwiched in between.

Kvaratskhelia then laid on Tanguy Ndombele’s first Serie A goal in the 68th minute following great hold-up play from Osimhen as Napoli took another step towards a first league title since 1990 in front of an army of fans in Turin.

It was their first away trip after the end of a two-month ban on travelling supporters following a motorway dust up with Roma fans in January.

“They are hoping. It has been so many years they have been believing and their support has been so good,” Osimhen told DAZN.

“No one deserves this more than the Napoli fans… I’m really happy to put a smile on their faces.”

The fans were on hand to see their team put in a typically dominant display which means at worst Napoli will be 18 points ahead of Inter Milan with 11 matches remaining, if Simone Inzaghi’s inconsistent side beat Juventus in Sunday’s big match.

It seems only a matter of time before Napoli seal a historic title, one which has come following a campaign of breathtaking football that has Osimhen convinced they can also win the Champions League.

They face an Italian derby with AC Milan in the quarter-finals and potentially another with Inter in the last four, but it would be hard to bet against a team which seems to have caught lightning in a bottle and then used it to fry everything in their path.

Once Kvaratskhelia rolled in his 14th goal of the season, Torino offered up no resistance. They dropped down to 11th, level on 37 points with Bologna and ninth-placed Fiorentina, who won their seventh straight match in all competitions 1-0 over Lecce.

– Lazio’s derby delight –

Lazio are Napoli’s closest challengers awaiting Inter’s clash with Juve thanks to Mattia Zaccagni’s winner which ensured his team did the double over 10-man Roma.

A typically fiery derby clash was prefaced by tensions between supporters and police and a Lazio fan display quoting William Shakespeare’s play Henry V.

But the on-pitch spectacle left a lot to be desired, especially after Roger Ibanez saw red in the 32nd minute for two daft tackles.

That was the first of what would end up being five red cards, each team having a staff member sent off near half-time before Roma’s Bryan Cristante and Lazio’s Adam Marusic were also dismissed following a post-match scuffle.

Roma were without suspended coach Jose Mourinho and retreated in a bid to keep Lazio out, a tactic that suffocated the game until Zaccagni stroked in a fine ninth goal of the season in the 65th minute.

Seconds later the Roma fans, massed in the southern end of the Stadio Olimpico, exploded with joy when Nicolo Casale accidently bundled the ball into his own goal at a set-piece.

But the Lazio fans, home supporters for this derby, had the last laugh when the goal was scrubbed off  because Chris Smalling had strayed offside.

“It’s a great win which allows us to look at the coming matches with more enthusiasm, it’s as good as it gets,” said Zaccagni after climbing into the stands to celebrate with supporters.

Fifth-placed Roma missed the chance to move into the Champions League positions and stay a point behind AC Milan who lost 3-1 at Udinese on Saturday night.

Earlier, Manolo Gabbiadini lifted Sampdoria off the bottom of Serie A with two goals in a 3-1 win over fellow strugglers Verona.


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